When we set up for our chickens here we gave the question of what coop to get some serious thought.
The first thing was size. We knew we’d be looking at 5 or 6 birds because we’re providing eggs for 4 adults and my grandson. That meant a larger coop was required. The Eglu Cube will handle 6 large birds without overcrowding them.
The fact it’s raised giving sheltered space under was another plus point. Luckily with our cats roaming around rats aren’t a problem but I have seen a weasel so that could be problem. Raising the coop adds to the protection and at night it’s very secure when it’s all locked up.
Weather & Coop Life
Our weather here can be challenging to put it mildly. It rarely gets really cold (or hot sadly) but we get a lot of wind and rain. We have to have something that can keep the birds comfortable when it’s storming and something that will last a reasonable time.
A low-cost wooden coop, even regularly treated, is unlikely to give more than 5 years service in these conditions. My estimate is that the Eglu will last at least 10 years and most likely twice that long. The plastic doesn’t degrade or rot.
Ease of Cleaning
The biggest factor though has to be cleaning. It’s not just that the weekly chore of cleaning out the hens can be done quickly and easily as the video at the end shows. That’s a big time-saver. Even if you think it saves but 20 minutes a week, that’s over 17 hours a year.
Being able to clean so thoroughly and easily means no more red-mite worries. They can be the devil to shift. I’ve even heard of people giving up and burning their coop because they couldn’t control them, only to find the problem in the new coop a few weeks later!
Economics of the Chicken Coop
A basic Eglu Cube is not cheap, £550 so something to think about seriously when you can buy a decent budget wooden coop for around £200. Here’s how they stack up.
Assume the Eglu lasts just 10 years, I reckon twice that but let’s stick with 10. The wooden coop we’ll give 5 years to. That means the wooden coop costs £40 a year and the Eglu £55.
Maintenance on the Eglu is nothing but the wooden coop will need annual coats of preservative which would be a pound or two. So now we have the difference in costs down to say £14 a year.
Allowing 4 hours for annual maintenance on the wooden coop and a saving of 17 hours cleaning time. That means I can save 21 hours of my life each year for £14. That’s a bit of a no-brainer!
Second-hand Value & Moving
We’ve no intention to ever move from here but you never know what the future holds. Moving a wooden coop can be dicey, they are more fragile than the Eglu when you’re taking them on a trip.
If we stop keeping chickens for some reason – say illness strikes me down – the Eglu will be saleable. Looking on Ebay they hold their value really well. Wooden coops, because of red-mite and bio-security tend to be pretty worthless second hand.
Buying the Eglu Cube was a big investment but one that makes a lot of sense when you factor in everything. To Recap:
- Comfort & Security
- Cost per Year
- Time saved cleaning
- No Maintenance
- Ease of Moving
- Second Hand Value